Mount Wachusett Community College will explore different perspectives on war, peace, prayer and growth at the Hope and Moving Forward symposium on Wednesday, November 28.
“I really hope people take away a message of inspiration and motivation. By having these community leaders speak with us I want people to remember that there is always something that can be done, no matter how small it may seem,” said MWCC Student Vanessa Lynch who is one of the organizers of the summit.
The symposium guests will share their experiences, with particular attention being given to peace and prayer. The ultimate goal of the summit will be to cultivate ideas to help create more peaceful and just societies. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the college’s Gardner campus in the art wing.
“We live in pretty scary times. If it’s not a natural disaster like the California fires or a nuclear plant mishap then it’s the threat of war, starvation, deportation, violence from hate groups or just surviving the mental roller coaster that accompanies so much turbulent news in a time of never ending news updates. I imagine this day will be a chance for people to slow down, however briefly, and share something memorable,” said Lynch.
The speakers are:
Gyoway Kato is the presiding monk of the New England Peace Pagoda whose practice is walking, beating a prayer drum, and chanting for peace. Kato has initiated many peace walks across the country and around the world. The New England Peace Pagoda is a place for people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together in peace.
Tim Bullock is a long-time community organizer. As the primary organizer of many peace walks initiated by the New England Peace Pagoda, his work around peace and nuclear disarmament is through direct action and prayer. In 1998, Bullock completed the Middle Passage walk, which retraced the roots of the trans-Atlantic slave trade backwards, starting in the United States and ending in Cape Town, South Africa. Following this journey, he stayed on the continent for several years building community and doing healthcare and anti-poverty outreach throughout West and South Africa.
John Schuchardt is a veteran who works to support refugee children in receiving life-altering and life-saving medical support in Boston. He and his wife Carrie facilitate the House of Peace in Ipswich, MA, which is a spiritual shelter for victims of war that the two built in 1990. Schuchardt is a longtime proponent of nuclear disarmament and a Veteran who shows his support for those recovering from the trauma of war with his work as a member of Veterans for Peace, partnerships with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and travels to war-affected areas.
Glen Douglas is a Vietnam-era veteran who describes himself as a human being who has received Anishinaabe spiritual teachings and follows the way the best he can.
“All of them have experience working in a variety of communities,” said Lynch. “I think there is something that everyone can gain from listening to these folks.”